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Sabres Dethrone Kings in 7-0 Shutout Victory



Los Angeles Kings Buffalo Sabres game recap

Over the last two days, Sabres head coach Don Granato has harped on not only the effort to get into scoring areas but the timing of plays to those areas as well. In Buffalo’s victory over the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday, one might say the message was “syncing” in.

The payoff was almost immediate, as JJ Peterka came off the bench and flashed to the high slot at the perfect time to receive a Jordan Greenway pass from the right circle. David Rittich got a piece of Peterka’s original shot, but the second-year winger was able to poke in the looming puck.

Greenway was the benefactor of an egregious turnover by the Kings’ defense and notched the second goal of the game for the Sabres. The team followed with another first-period goal, with Kyle Okposo tipping in a Dylan Cozens shot on the powerplay.

The second period served as insurance for Buffalo, as the Sabres saw goals from Rasmus Dahlin and Zach Benson thanks to Los Angeles’ porous defensive zone coverage. The five-goal run led the Kings to switch goalies to Cam Talbot to begin the third period.

Alex Tuch ripped a goal from the right faceoff dot in the third, and Greenway capped things off with his second of the night after incredible puck movement in the offensive zone.

Impact Players

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen was stellar in net once again for the Sabres, as the Finnish netminder posted 3.73 goals saved above expected per Evolving-Hockey. For the first time in a long time, however, he didn’t need to be.

Buffalo’s line of Greenway, Tuch, and Casey Mittelstadt combined for three goals and six points. Greenway himself was credited for two goals and an assist.

Also, Jacob Bryson notched two assists in his first action since January 27th. He also was on the ice for four of the team’s seven goals. Bryson has only appeared in six games all season for the Sabres, and Buffalo has won all six.

The Difference

Call it jet lag if you want, but Los Angeles seemed uninterested in pushing play up the ice throughout the majority of the game. Tuesday’s game was the first of a four-game road trip for the Kings, and the Sabres took full advantage.

Of all the things Granato has preached, it was the Sabres’ ability to create their own urgency and come out of the gate swinging that set the tone for the rest of the game. Getting the first goal is always huge, but dominating the first shift got the team off on the right foot.

General Manager Kevyn Adams referred to the importance of a good start earlier in the day.

Must Read: Sabres Not Shopping Casey Mittelstadt

What’s Next

The Sabres’ homestand continues as they will face the Florida Panthers on Thursday. The Panthers are currently second in the Atlantic Division with 70 points in 52 games. They’ve won two straight, and have points in eight of their last 10 games.